Vol. 8, No. 9
~ Page 12 ~
Coy Watson was a dear friend and brother in the Lord. We worshiped and served together some years ago during my local work in West Tennessee. Coy was a solid "Bible man." He liked to read and study the Word. He liked to talk about the Word. He liked to listen to the preaching of the Word.
In the latter months of his life, Coy struggled mightily with diabetes. The symptoms were most noticeable on his left foot. His toes tingled and had become discolored. Before long, they turned virtually black and lost all feeling. His physician in Jackson told him that surgery was necessary. Part of his foot would have to be amputated.
His surgeon removed the infected members, but to no avail. The disease was incrementally spreading up his body. Within weeks a second medical procedure was required. This time he lost the better part of his leg. A third surgery took the toes on his right foot. Gangrene was taking Coy a piece at a time.
Consider for just a moment, did Coy have "just" a toe problem, or did he have a body problem? Now stay with me for just a moment. Don't get lost. I sometimes hear people say, "That's not our (i.e., a group) problem, that's his (i.e., an individual) problem." Such a statement is not in harmony with reality. People problems are always group problems, not just individual problems. Study the examples below and then decide for yourself if this is the case. Is each "just" an individual problem, or a group problem?
When there's an alcoholic or drug addict in the home (Galatians 5:21).
When there's a member of the congregation who is living in adultery (1 Corinthians 5:1-13; Colossians 3:5-7).
When there's a defiant, rebellious teenager in the family (Ephesians 6:1).
When there's an abusive husband wreaking havoc in the house (Ephesians 4:31).
When there's an "out of control" wife who is given to wild fits of anger (Galatians 5:20).
People mistakenly conclude that because they're not personally engaged in some sinful behavior that they have no responsibility to the situation. "It's his (or her) problem, not mine." Don't be too sure. What affects one, affects all. Individual problems are inherently group problems (cf. Joshua 7:10-26). Scripture teaches, "And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it" (1 Corinthians 12:26; emphasis added).
I performed Coy's funeral nine years ago. Coy lost his toes, his foot, his leg, then his life. Nina, his devoted helpmate of 51 years, lost her loving husband. His four children lost a caring father. His grandchildren and great-grandchildren lost a special mentor. The local church lost a spiritual leader. Truth be told, a toe problem wasn't just a toe problem, it was a very real, deadly serious, body problem.
When a brother or sister in the Lord is involved in self-destructive activity, you and I can't sit idly by and fold our arms in indifference. We can't abdicate our responsibility to get involved (Galatians 6:1; James 5:19-20). We can't say, "That's his problem, not mine" and figuratively stick our heads in the sand. A little (?) spiritual gangrene in the toes isn't just a toe problem, it's a body problem (1 Corinthians 5:6).